Words by Véronique Van Hoye
Yaco Studio’s Joeri Borst and Josine Castelein
Your search for a tote that shows both your fashion sense and green credentials is officially over. Just join Amsterdam’s green shoppers who are taking the streets with Yaco Studio’s THIS IS NOT A PLASTIC BAG. We spoke to Yaco’s designer duo Joeri Borst and Josine Castelein about their campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags and about their creative ambitions for a better future.
How did the THIS IS NOT A PLASTIC BAG campaign come about?
Josine: I was long fascinated by how difficult it is for people to stop using plastic bags when they’re shopping. Rather than join the crusade against single-use bags, I started thinking about how to create awareness and influence behaviour through design.
Joeri: We were traveling through Asia and were able to get a hold of remnant denim cloth of great quality. The idea came to life there and then, to offer people something reusable, a bag for life that was both attractive and practical.
Josine: As we were working on this, plastic bag taxes and bans became a hot topic in the media, so it all came together.
Joeri: Within just days of sending out a press release we were mentioned in a national newspaper like De Telegraaf. And from there it just took off.
The bag also looks really cool…
Josine: I believe in the strength of clean design. To strip away the non-essentials and keep it pure and simple, to make it easy for people to make sense of the message. That’s also why our bag doesn’t have separate handles; it really looks like a plastic shopping bag.
Joeri: Denim is cool of course, it appeals to both men and women of various ages. The bag is also reversible in case people don’t feel like walking around with a statement.
Please tell us about Yaco’s other designs…
Joeri: Yaco stands for Your Accessory Company and it’s a platform for the different ideas we have. We have our Lindo Lenco scarves; just like the bag they have a simple design with an authentic story. The scarves are 100% merino wool from Portuguese sheep and made in collaboration with a local supplier. Hence the name Lindo Lenco, which means beautiful scarf in Portuguese.
Josine: And we’re particularly proud of the Yaco rack, a clothes rack made of wood and steel. Easy to fold, perfect for pop-up shops or to use at trade fairs. It’s our edition of the clean lines of Dutch design. We developed it together with my father whose company produces it here in the Netherlands. Again simple, credible and real.
How did you start up Yaco?
Joeri: Josine and I are very complementary as a couple and we realized that we could be a great combination in business as well. It made sense to set up something together. My background is in sales in the travel industry, so I put my network and commercial expertise to good use for Yaco.
Josine: I already had my t-shirt business Yunit and I also support other entrepreneurs and young designers with the more technical aspects of launching a clothing line. I have a background in fashion and I have experience as a buyer, so I take care of design and of the technical side of Yaco.
If you had to describe your bags and accessories in just a couple of words they would be…
Minimalism, awareness and authenticity.
So, what’s next?
Joeri: We can’t really talk about it yet, but we’re developing something new and completely different in cooperation with another company.
Josine: It’s very exciting, so stay tuned.
Find out more about Yaco Studio here.
Words by Véronique Van Hoye